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16.12.2020

The man, Korsor Nor

The remains of at least seven human beings were found during dredging operations in Corser Harbor. Among them was a well-preserved but underwater grave that contained the body of an adult male from the time of the Ertebølle culture. A stretcher (a stretcher on which the body was carried) made of twigs and a layer of bark that had been wrapped around the body before burial were preserved in the mud. Much of this layer of bark was destroyed when the grave was discovered. On the waist of the body lay a flint knife. The skull shows scars from a severe blow. A resident of Corsair Nor survived the fight; the fate of his opponent is unknown.

If organic material such as plants, animals, or people need to be dated, the carbon-14 method can be used. Carbon-14 is a radioactive isotope that is part of the Earth's biological cycle. All living things absorb carbon 14 throughout their lives. Carbon 14 is radioactive and constantly decays, becoming smaller and smaller over time. When an organism dies, it stops absorbing carbon 14. By measuring the amount of carbon 14 left in an organism, we can estimate its age. This measurement is never completely accurate, so +/- is shown after the date. 

Since the time of the Ertebølle culture, strong geological movements have tilted Denmark by about 15 meters. The settlements at Tversted, south of Skagen, which lay on the coast 6,000 years ago, are now 12 meters above sea level. Meanwhile, in the south of Denmark, for example, around the island of Erö, settlements are up to 3 meters deep from the water. In Zealand, settlements and graves were raised 4-5 meters in the northeast (Vedbæk), but sunk 1-2 meters in the southwest (Korsør Nor). This explains why the man from Korsør Nor was lying underwater when he was found, even though he was originally buried on land. In the same way, the remains of other dead people were later disturbed by the movement of the sea and found scattered all over the seabed millennia after their death.

Skeletons from the Stone Age often show signs of violence. A man from Bögebakken in Wedbeck was killed by a very precise shot to the neck. He was struck from the front and the arrowhead was still lodged in his throat when he was buried 7,000 years ago. Signs of violence can be seen on other skeletons. The man from Korsør-Nor was the victim of one or more blows to the head, which he survived. It is possible that these traces of violence and murder are evidence of territorial struggle resulting from the increase in population density at the end of the Mesolithic period. 

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